OpenSignal: Verizon vs AT&T vs T-Mobile vs Sprint LTE speed and reliability Q4 report is out


Gather around, carrier fandom, we've got the latest Q4 metrics on speed, availability, latency and 3G fallback for the big four US networks, courtesy of the OpenSignal's communal methodology. There are some movers and shakers since the H1 2016 info that came out in August, namely that T-Mobile is no longer in the lead in terms of average LTE speeds. Given that OpenSignal's data is crowdsourced, and users are mainly hailing from downtown areas, where T-Mobile has good coverage for the most part, Verizon's comeback is even more impressive, as it is the only carrier with coverage that blankets almost every nook and cranny of this great nation, which you'd appreciate if you have to travel often. Bear in mind also that if there is no coverage, the app simply doesn't register a score, so these results might be skewed to big metropolitan areas, too.

Verizon is still slightly ahead of T-Mobile when it comes down to LTE network reliability, while AT&T is still at third place. On the average LTE speeds front, Verizon and T-Mobile are neck and neck now, a tad shy of 17 Mbps, while T-Mobile scored a tad quicker download speeds than Verizon before, so that LTE-Advanced implementation is starting to pay off for Big Red.

When it comes to 3G speeds, however, T-Mobile beats by a mile, both in speed and in latency, so even if you aren't covered by its LTE network, there would still be nice speeds to fall back on. Sprint excels in none of the categories, and AT&T is the same rich slacker. When it comes to actual coverage, that's a different story, and Verizon or even AT&T would be your better bet, but as for quality of the big four networks, T-Mobile and Verizon take the proverbial cake again.


source: OpenSignal

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19 Comments

1. darkkjedii

Posts: 31623; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

My issue with Tmobile was always coverage, never got good indoor coverage with them. AT&T has always been both fast, and reliable in the Las Vegas area. Sprint has been plain bad for me.

2. PostmanLV

Posts: 44; Member since: Sep 11, 2012

Yeah band 12 is seriously needed here,my sigal hangs on a thread in most buildings

5. ECPirate37

Posts: 347; Member since: Jul 14, 2011

Whenever you finally get it, you will love it. I have T-Mobile in NYC and spend a lot of time in high rises or in basements and I will have service even when Verizon doesn't. A common question I hear is, "You have service? Who do you have, Verizon?" and I say, "No, T-Mobile. They actually have better building penetration now". Which is weird, because I remember 5 years ago T-Mobile SUCKED! They have consistently gotten better each of the last three years I have been with them.

7. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

That's a special circumstance, but overall Verizon is still king, especially if you travel. I have had all of them, but Verizon consistently has great service. When I go to NYC, LA, Phoenix, Chicago, St Louis, Miami, Indianapolis, Idaho Falls, San Francisco, Omaha, Denver, Atlanta, Charlotte, DC, Philadelphia, Boston, Kennebunkport, Portland, Minneapolis, Buffalo, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City...and everywhere in between for business my Verizon wireless phone never ever lets me down. 4G everywhere, even in Indian Reservations. I can't say the same for T-Mobile, AT&T & Sprint. As you can see I do travel a lot for business and I can attest to this. I have said it once and I will say it again and again... Until someone, anyone beats Verizon in consistent service in the WHOLE United States of America & in price I will never leave them. You pay for what you get, sure Verizon is more expensive, (not by a landslide) but you get the best service out there. Plain and Simple.

9. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

Ive had T-mobile for extensive travel and have never had any real issues. And for international travel, Tmobile pounces the hell out of all of them. You're looking at about a 3% difference in coverage in national maps, and the vast majority of that difference is in very rural areas where CDMA is cheap to implement and cover huge swaths of area. Add WiFi calling capabilities, and it more than makes up any other perceived differences since WiFi is so prevalent.

12. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

What up remixfa!!! Good to see you around, man it's been a long time!!! I miss the glory days of PhoneArena.com. (Taco50) lol The reason I say this is because my company gave us T-Mobile phones & still to this day there are places where my Verizon Phone works and T-Mobile doesn't. Don't get me wrong, I have seen tremendous growth with T-Mobile, but they still fall short. They have closed the gap, but alas the gap is still there...

10. Crispin_Gatieza

Posts: 3166; Member since: Jan 23, 2014

I don't travel as much as you do but the places I normally go to are in line with your comment. Verizon is definitely the best but it's too much money compared to T-Mobile. Also, their fallback is pitiful. In Miami (my city), Buffalo, DC and Vegas T-Mobile falls off the Earth if you set one foot outside the city limits while VZW remains strong. However, in rural areas where there's coverage, TMO's HSDPA blows Verizon's 3G away. For most people, they never stray too far from their homes or businesses but for those that do, it's tricky.

13. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

Yes 3G does suck with Verizon, but like I said before I get 4G everywhere, sure there are some holes in the wall but that's so far and few that it really makes no difference to me at all. I will gladly pay a little more for piece of mind, knowing that my phone service will never fail is worth the extra price. I mean yes it's more expensive but it's not like it's $100's of dollars more expensive... Sometimes when I do find that rare hole in the wall where my Verizon signal is 3G instead of 4G I kinda like it. Shows Verizon is human and not perfect. That there is STILL work to be done. I find that refreshing.

14. technitude

Posts: 263; Member since: Dec 19, 2013

You have to admit, not across that board. And it is the worst internationally and Puerto Rico. Even in the US; Verizon sucks at a lot of ski resorts, even Sprint outperforms them in back mountain skiing. I care most about Panama, Costa Rica and ski resort coverage, plus 8-10GB/month of data in US. Verizon is not the best service for people like me. I might switch to T-Mobile or Project-Fi, but Verizon just fails all around.

15. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

That's just some special circumstances... The majority of places in the US are not Panama, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico & Ski Resorts... You have a unique issue, but for the majority of the US, your issues are non existent. Verizon doesn't fail all around... I bet when you are not in Panama, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, & Ski Resorts, Verizon is killer in the rest of the US.

11. matistight

Posts: 1029; Member since: May 13, 2009

Because unlike sprint, they are actually spending money to fix their network

4. Acdc1a

Posts: 477; Member since: Jan 21, 2016

Vegas is one area that improves every time I go at least from a coverage perspective. Service compared to just a couple of years ago is night and day.

16. darkkjedii

Posts: 31623; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

AT&T is awesome here.

6. sissy246

Posts: 7129; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

I have never had Tmobile but a friend did and she never had service at my house and a few other places we went, I always do with att. I finally got her to go att and she is so happy. We have never had trouble in Vagas either. We have one store here in town that I can not get signal in. As soon as I go in the door it's gone. Wish I knew why.

17. darkkjedii

Posts: 31623; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

I could never get indoor service with them. I'd have to constantly use wifi. I'm cool with AT&T.

3. civicsr2cool

Posts: 278; Member since: Oct 19, 2016

ATT is the only one that gets coverage everywhere I have been around the country. Most everyone in the military was on it for this reason.

8. j_grouchy

Posts: 186; Member since: Nov 08, 2016

Further confirming the wisdom of my choice to finally drop Sprint after 12+ years. T-Mobile has been so much better...it's not even funny.

18. k9luvr

Posts: 122; Member since: Oct 17, 2016

It all depends on where you're at. Every carrier has their strong spots and weak spots. The download speeds they post in this article are far from reality in my area. AT&T is far faster than Verizon. I guess if you live in downtown LA, NYC, Chicago, etc., those figures might be accurate.

19. Quicksword_Phantom

Posts: 180; Member since: Jun 15, 2015

Verizon is no longer the best in my area. In fact they have a lot of dead spots where Tmobile has LTE and only Tmobile. Sprint and AT&T are complete trash here and slow. Tmobile must be putting up towers like crazy because there is no band 12 here. Verizon has the most inaccurate coverage map I have ever seen.

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